Men’s Basketball “In A Funk”


Julia Jade Moran

The Blue Devils trailed by 30 in the second half to LIU Brooklyn.

Patrick Gustavson, Sports Editor

Entering the season, Donyell Marshall believed his Central Connecticut men’s basketball team had the potential to win the Northeast Conference. But eight games into the conference slate, they are 2-6 and on the outside looking in of even making the conference tournament.

Marshall said his team is, “in a funk,” following two more losses.

The Blue Devils were in a position to break their losing streak on Thursday when they traveled to Bryant in an incredibly evenly-matched contest, with neither team leading by more than seven points at any time.

Both teams traded runs in the closing minutes, leading to a 60-60 tie with just 34 seconds remaining.

With just nine seconds left, Bryant’s Sebastian Townes hit a three, handing the Blue Devils their third-straight loss.

Marshall said the loss hit his team hard and believes it affected the way they came out when they returned home to take on LIU Brooklyn at home on Saturday.

The Blue Devils came out flat in the first half, surrendering 52 points on the home court. They struggled to contain the Blackbird offense, who was moving the ball in transition, displaying strong ball-movement and hitting open shots. Specifically, the Blue Devils had little answer for Ty Flowers, a stretch big who hit three threes. Raul Frias also hit three triples in the first half.

After trailing by 20 at halftime, Central did not come out of the half particularly strong, with the Blackbirds extending their lead to 30 with just under 13 minutes left in the game.

Marshall said his team did not come out with enough fight and even placed blame on himself.

“Right now, I’m struggling as a coach. We’ve just got to get the guys more engaged. We’ve got to get them to believe. I think sometimes when you go through stretches like this, they can get down on themselves,” Marshall said.

But CCSU was not done yet; cutting the 30-point lead to 12 with under three minutes remaining.

While Marshall believed his team played with more intensity and inspiration, he said his team “can’t get down 30 to get inspired.”

One of the biggest stories from the previous two losses was the lack of Tyler Kohl. The team’s leading scorer averaged just 5.5 points against Saint Francis (PA) and Robert Morris.

In the two most recent contests, Kohl averaged 14.5 points and even had a double-double against Bryant.

Marshall said Kohl is “getting there” and “getting better,” but says he is still getting frustrated as team’s clamp down on him.

“Teams know that he’s the key to our team and I think sometimes he gets a little frustrated,” Marshall said. “You’ve got to learn to play through that and keep playing.”

The Blue Devils have now lost four in a row and would miss the NEC tournament should the season end today.

Despite the struggles, Marshall insists his team has not given up and still believes.

“None of us are happy, but we’ve got to keep fighting,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of people have given up on the season, but we haven’t. We lost six in a row, but we can turn it around and win the next 10. We’ve got to take it one thing at a time.”

As the Blue Devils take things one day at a time, Marshall said he will be preaching a message.

“The message is that we believe. We believe as coaches. You’ve got to believe,” Marshall said. “We’re the ones that are in there practicing every day, we’re the ones that are traveling. It is us. We’ve got to keep believing in ourselves and we’ve got to keep believing in them. As the leader, I still believe.”

Marshall also believes that if his team gets hot, they can still contend in the NEC.

“I still think we’re as talented as any team in this league and if we can get into the NEC tournament, I still think we’re dangerous,” he said. “We’ve got to stick together and try to make the run and let the chips fall where they may.”